There were no radishes to be seen.

I was craving a radish.

There were waffles, bacon, cream puffs, macaroni and cheese, walking tacos, German potato salad, brats and ice cream devoured at graduation parties I'd attended. I joke that the invitations should include a menu so that attendees could plan their eating day.

June is the time of the year when most of the world seems to be covered in mints and pulled pork.

My wife and I were fortunate enough to have been invited to a good number of graduation parties this year. We'd known the young folks for a long time and they reminded us that time passes at a speed surpassing posted limits.

It was enjoyable visiting with young people losing their home field advantage as they went from being seniors to lacking seniority in the time taken to affix one signature to a diploma. I marveled at the multitudinous of their accomplishments, knowing that the scoreboard never captures the game.

They are getting older. That club offers a lifetime membership and requires lifelong learning. Shakespeare suggested that human knowledge is limited when he had Hamlet saying this to Horatio: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Hamlet knew these recent graduates are climbing mountains and hoping to persist long enough to one day be over the hill. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is no official difference between a mountain and a hill. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names once stated that the difference between a hill and a mountain in the U.S. was that a mountain rises at least 1,000 feet above its surrounding area, but this was abandoned in the 1970s.

I read the "Chilkat Valley News," a newspaper from Haines, Alaska. It has a "Looking Back" column that highlights interesting and informative happenings from the past. A recent entry displayed events from 50 years ago. The class valedictorian of Haines High School had received a subscription to "Reader's Digest." That's a fine gift, but here's a better one. Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach, said, "My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."

I hugged graduates and wished them enough. They hadn't yet learned that talking about the weather is a competitive sport, so we discussed other things. I didn't give them any advice. They get plenty of that. I'd be flapping my lips in vain. Unsolicited is by far the most common form of advice. Whenever I feel the urge to offer unsolicited advice, I think about the film “The Graduate,” when Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, is at a party for his graduation from college. A friend of his parents takes Ben aside and gives one word of advice — “plastics.”

I'd love to be able to give helpful advice like that offered by the writer Ilene Beckerman, "If you have to stand on your head to make somebody happy, all you can expect is a big headache."

My best advice would be, "Enjoy just one more."

Preseason football practice occurred when it was too hot, too humid and too early. We had to run up Heartless Hill near the field. If a hill has a nickname, it's usually notorious. It didn't look like much of a hill until you climbed it while burdened with your weight in sweat and wearing full pads. Some opposing teams wore helmets during this exercise, but our coach claimed our heads were harder than any helmet. Sometimes we carried a teammate up that hill — a primitive form of transportation.

Lungs were scorched as I ran up that hill repeatedly. It was like climbing out of the Grand Canyon. We all ran. We were football players. If we couldn't defeat that hill, who could we beat? As I trudged up and down, I often wondered, "How many more?"

Our coach had the vile habit of saying, "Just one more."

Whether it was laps around the field or scrambling up Heartless Hill, just when I thought I was finished, I'd hear him say, "Just one more."

"What are you going to be when you grow up?" I heard a clever adult ask a new graduate.

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. For now, I want just one more. Just one more minute, hour, day, month, year, laugh, chance, grad party or one more radish that needs eating.

This is a great time to be alive. Onward and upward. Excelsior!

Al Batt is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist from rural Hartland, Minnesota. He can be reached at snoeowl@aol.com.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy

Load comments